EC yet to fix dates for J&K Assembly elections

Election Commission has not yet fixed the dates for holding of Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, the Home Ministry told Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

The state was put under the Governor’s rule in June 2018 and the state Assembly was kept in suspended animation after Jammu and Kashmir plunged into a political crisis when the Mehbooba Mufti-led coalition government was reduced to minority following withdrawal of support by the 25-member BJP in the state.

“Election Commission of India has not yet fixed the dates for holding of Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir,” Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy said in a written reply.

To a question whether the government was considering to undertake delimitation exercise in the state, he said Jammu and Kashmir was not included within the purview of the Delimitation Act 2002 as Article 170 of the Constitution of India that deals with delimitation of constituencies for State Legislative Assemblies has not been extended to J&K.

“Delimitation of Legislative Assembly constituencies in the state of Jammu and Kashmir is carried out under sections 47 and 141 of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir,” Reddy said.

State BJP had been raising the issue of withdrawal of a 16-year-old freeze on carrying out delimitation exercise in the state.

Taking Jammu and Kashmir on par with the rest of the states, the then Farooq Abdullah government had in 2002 amended the state constitution which froze delimitation commission till 2026. At present, there are 37,33,111 voters in Jammu division, 40,10,971 voters in Kashmir and 1,79,147 voters in Ladakh division, Reddy said.